Whether you prefer a seaside holiday or one with direct access to hill walks, Murmur
y Môr is ideal. Nestled on the cliff in the middle of the vibrant picturesque seaside
town of Barmouth surrounded by the Snowdonia National Park, it is a quiet spot above
the busy town.
From the sun terrace with its breathtaking panoramic views of Cardigan Bay you can hear the murmur of the sea (murmur y môr in Welsh).
The fully equipped stone-built end-terrace cottage (on the right of the picture below) has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, three bedrooms and an attic room.
The front door is a stable-door opening to the west-facing patio with uninterrupted sea views.
The living room and two of the bedrooms share the panoramic views over the bay.
The other bedroom looks onto the cliff.
The cottage sleeps up to five - one 4ft double at the front:
one twin at the back (the beds can be pushed together to make a double) and a single at the front.
There is also a quiet pine-panelled attic room up a steep staircase.
It has bean bags for relaxing as well as power points and a desk for those who want to bring a laptop, and although it has restricted headroom it has two skylights so you can sit at the desk and look out to the sea or the cliff.
The cottage is suitable for all seasons. It is cosy and comfortable, with central heating as well as a gas fire in the living room for any chilly evenings. A TV with digibox is provided.
The kitchen is equipped with a gas cooker, microwave, fridge/freezer, toaster, sandwich toaster, and washing machine.
The upstairs bathroom has a bath with shower, washbasin and toilet.
Outside there is a good-sized patio with seating, table and barbecue, and a summerhouse.
There are stunning views over Barmouth and out to sea. On a clear day you can see right down the Llŷn Peninsula to Bardsey Island, over twenty miles away across the bay, and on rare occasions you can see the Preseli Mountains in South Wales, seventy miles away.
The sunsets are spectacular.
There is a private parking space beside the narrow access road which climbs up from the main street and returns steeply down to it.
The cottage is accessed either by a spiral staircase directly from the road,
or by a few steps at the other end of the row and path along the front.
For those who want a shortcut to the main road below there is also a steep flight of steps from the front gardens of the terrace directly down to the town.
From there you can continue left to the shops or cross the road to the park and the beach, just a five minute walk away.
You’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Barmouth, all just a few minutes’ walk from the cottage. High street shopping and dining are only five minutes on foot down the hill, and the award-winning Blue Flag beach has miles of perfect sand for family bathing. The beach is only about 300 yards from the cottage, but there is ample parking right along the beach for those who need it. Barmouth has traditional seaside entertainments, with a small funfair and amusement arcade, waterside pubs, coffee shops, tearooms and restaurants, as well as opportunities for sailing and water sports, but it also has long, quiet stretches of beach. A small promenade “train” gives rides along the front in the summer.
In the centre there is an amusement arcade and a leisure centre with facilities for indoor sports including badminton, table tennis, squash, gym, sauna and a climbing wall. Bikes can be hired from the Birmingham Garage, by the harbour. Barmouth hosts a number of festivals and special events throughout the season including kite-flying events, a music festival, the special harbour day, and the start of the Three Peaks Race in which yachts race to Snowdonia, the Lake District and Scotland, where each team’s runners compete to climb Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis, the three highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland, in turn. There is also a theatre which hosts a range of live performances and sometimes shows films.
Just three minutes’ walk from the house is a park with a bowling green and children’s play area. Also available are a playing field nearby and a multi-sport area by the beach, next to the Min y Môr Hotel.
Behind the house it’s green, just the coastal hills and cliffs. A public footpath which starts just above the cottage gives access to mountain walks near or far - along the coast, inland to the Rhinog mountains, or high above the breathtaking Mawddach estuary. It’s a paradise for birdwatchers with woodland, moorland, estuary and maritime habitats all around - or for trainspotters, with a regular steam service over the famous Barmouth bridge between Aberystwyth and Pwllheli in recent holiday seasons. You could watch from the patio as it chuffs out of Barmouth station.
If you want a day out by rail, Barmouth station is about a ten minute walk away. You can take the train along the coast, north to Harlech, Porthmadog and Pwllheli, with connections to the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway which has steam locomotives to take you up into the mountains in the summer. Alternatively you can head south towards Tywyn and Machynlleth, with connections to Shrewsbury and Birmingham. There is another narrow-gauge steam railway from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn.
Those who fancy a boat trip can take the little summer ferry across the estuary from Barmouth harbour and then the miniature train along the beach to Fairbourne, which also has a wonderful expanse of sand. Walkers will enjoy a walk across Barmouth Bridge (also used by cyclists), perhaps returning by train from the little station at Morfa Mawddach.
By car you can head north along the splendid Ardudwy coast towards Harlech, fifteen minutes’ drive away, for a visit to the famous castle, pretty town, extensive beach and sand dunes. On the way is Shell Island, renowned for its beaches and rock pools, or you can turn inland towards the Rhinog Mountains. Well worth a visit are the beautiful Cwm Bychan with its picturesque lake and Roman Steps up to the pass, or the waterfalls and nature trail in Cwm Nantcol above Llanbedr. The Victoria is a pleasant pub in Llanbedr with a pretty riverside garden.
Alternatively drive along the outstandingly beautiful Mawddach estuary, east of Barmouth, with unrivalled views (above) of one of the most majestic mountains in Wales, Cadair Idris, on the south side of the river. Above Bontddu there are spectacular walks in the hills where gold is still mined. Further along the estuary, crossing the river by the toll bridge you find yourself at one of the loveliest pubs in the country, the George III at Penmaenpool, right on the waterfront, with seats outside, good food, drink and snacks, the haunt of poets and artists. The disused railway line from there to the coast along the estuary has been turned into one of the most stunning walking and cycling tracks in the country. A few miles further inland (about fifteen minutes’ drive from Barmouth), is the historic town of Dolgellau, where you can hire bikes and buy honey buns for your picnic if you’re early enough.
There are also internationally famous bike trails in Coed y Brenin, an impressive forest ten minutes’ drive north of Dolgellau on the A470 with a beautifully designed Visitor Centre housing a cafe with lovely terraces, bookshop, bike hire, etc., in a circular timber building open to all.
There are golf courses at Harlech on the dunes and at Dolgellau. Ponytrekking along tracks high above the estuary is available from Abergwynant Farm, midway between Dolgellau and Fairbourne. The well supervised rides cater for all ages and abilities.
Taking the A470 from Llanelltyd you gain quick access to the main Snowdon range with its high peaks, a paradise for serious climbers as well as those who like a less strenuous walk, or even just a beautiful drive. Porthmadog is the nearest substantial town with a range of facilities. Another tourist attraction is Portmeirion, an Italianate village built on the coast near Penrhyndeudraeth by Clough Williams Ellis. Blaenau Ffestiniog has slate mines you can visit, with underground trains, caverns and themed displays.
To the south towards Machynlleth there is an alternative technology centre, a craft village and a theme park labyrinth accessed by boat exploring Arthurian myths and legends, a treat for the children on a wet day. Bird-lovers will want to visit Craig yr Aderyn (Bird Rock) in the lovely valley east of Tywyn, a sheer cliff where choughs and cormorants still nest, although it is now some miles from the sea.
Ravens nest in the nature reserve in the Rhinog mountains, which are also home to wild goats. The ancient geology of the area known as the Harlech Dome also bears some of the earliest surviving evidence of prehistoric settlement in the UK, with burial mounds and hut circles all along the Ardudwy coast and hills.
And of course, although Barmouth is toward the south of Snowdonia, it is not far to Snowdon itself (about an hour’s drive) and all the summits of the range, as well as tourist attractions such as the Aberglaslyn gorge, Beddgelert, and the Snowdon railway to take you to the highest point in Wales the easy way in the summer months.
All in all Murmur y Môr is ideal for summer holidays and for short or long breaks at any time of year.